‘Imelda needn’t be jailed’ – Saguisag

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Former First Lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos was convicted last week by the Sandiganbayan of graft and meted a prison term of up to 77 years. Ironically, her late husband regarded the number “7” as his lucky charm.

The court found Mrs. Marcos guilty in seven of 10 charges filed against her some three decades ago by the government in connection with the Swiss bank accounts, when she returned home from a five-year exile in the US after EDSA 1.

Understandably, this was cause for elation and jubilation in the “yellow” camp which had orchestrated the filing during the time of the late President Cory Aquino.

However, the mood was dampened when it emerged Mrs. Marcos wouldn’t be sent to jail because the court allowed her to post a P150,000 bail since the conviction was not yet final and had still to be affirmed by the Supreme Court (SC).

And as we speak, the motion for reconsideration for the Sandiganbayan ruling is being prepared by legal staffers, supposedly assisted by George Garcia who is Bongbong Marcos’ chief lawyer for the disqualification case against Vice President Leni Robredo.

Failing this, the case will be raised before the SC where the petition will be handled by Estelito Mendoza who is arguably the best defense lawyer in the land today.

Further fouling up the mood of the Aquinos is the looming possibility that Mrs. Marcos will not get to spend even a single night in the coop, down the line, due to the vagaries and jejuneness of the legal system.

Add to this the fact that the Marcoses are reportedly close to President Duterte who has shown no inclination of throwing the kitchen sink at them.

But what really doused cold water on their parade was the unexpected “ringing endorsement” from a dyed-in-the-wool Coryista, former Sen. Rene Saguisag who sprung up against Mrs. Marcos’ looming incarceration.

Saguisag, one of Cory’s closest advisers in the post-EDSA 1 days, said there really wasn’t any need for her to be jailed. “I am not for her to be slapped publicly,” he was quoted as saying.

Citing Italy and Spain as examples, Saguisag said septuagenarians aren’t kept locked up, instead placed under house arrest and told to do some community service.

Not one to miss a beat, House Minority Leader Danny Suarez said placing Mrs. Marcos behind bars would not serve any purpose and do the nation any good, as she is already nearly a nonagenarian.

Not easily discouraged, the yellows are now reportedly training their crosshairs on her eldest daughter, Imee, the incumbent Ilocos Norte governor who is eyeing a Senate seat in the May 2019 elections.

From what I was told, they wish to derail Imee’s senatorial ambitions with various underhanded schemes and black propaganda to achieve this objective.

But this is easier said than done as Ms. Marcos, a neophyte in Senate wars, seems to be quite popular among the voters, taking into account the latest Pulse Asia nationwide survey (1 to 7 September) where she landed in 7th place, besting a slew of seasoned would-be senators.

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Upon the instigation of President Duterte and with help from China’s President Xi Jinping, the construction of the humongous Kaliwa Dam, which would assure thirsty Mega Manila residents of flowing water until 2037, is finally getting off the ground after some three decades of dilly-dallying.

Work on the P13-billion project should have actually commenced during the previous administration, but it got bogged down due to numerous oppositors led by human rights advocates, nature conservancy groups, Church-backed non-government organization and the influential Lopez group, all of whom ex-President Aquino did not wish to antagonize.

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said the formal contract signing for the National Economic and Development Authority-approved Kaliwa project, whose expected completion date is 2023, is slated during President Xi’s state visit next week.

The Kaliwa Dam, a medium-term water source to complement Angat Dam being undertaken by China Energy Engineering Corporation, is expected at peak level to contribute some 1,800 million liters per day to be divided between an estimated 20 million customers of concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad Water.

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